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Kelston Intermediate

Region: Auckland

Art form: Craft/Object

Project name: Onewherowhero Clay Project

Creative name: Carla Ruka

Project information: The purpose of this project is to enable our students to connect with our local whenua (physically, mentally, and spiritually) by creating clay/uku artworks under the expert guidance of our Māori clay artist creative. These artworks will show their connection to the whenua through whakapapa and identity in the form of kaitiaki based pieces. These artworks would be displayed within the school as the students’ personal link back to their time and journey here. 

Kelston Intermediate sits alongside Te Whau River in Kelston, Auckland. Te Whau was originally used as a kainga, fishing spot, and thoroughfare/portage by Māori to cross from the Waitematā Harbour to the Manukau Harbour. The original name of the Kelston area is Onewherowhero, meaning reddish clay. Brickworks were established along Te Whau in the 19th and 20th centuries for the production of bricks using this clay, and the large Ambrico, later Crown Lynn, factory was also established in neighbouring New Lynn. This long association with Te Whau and its reddish clay banks form the basis of our desire to use clay/uku as the medium for this project – in both its physical and spiritual form. 

This project will have multiple links to our local curriculum including not only its visual arts outcomes but also those within social sciences (local history and resource use of Te Whau, and traditional Pacific use of clay in Lapita pottery), science (land formations and the structural changes of clay throughout the firing process) and technology (harvesting of wild clay/pigments and building primitive kilns). There is a strong emphasis on Te Reo Māori me ona Tikanga at our school and this will be strengthened through learning about the whakapapa of uku/clay and the tikanga involved in the creative processes of Ngā Toi Māori. The final pieces will be exhibited and celebrated either at a local gallery or in a community space.

Project starting: June 2022

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